A bird's eye view while you wait for the reopening
By Joel Kasow
needs all the help it can get to rise from its ashes, and the new CD-ROM, "La
Fenice: visite virtuelle d'un Opéra à Venise", is a more than
worthwhile contribution, as proceeds from its sale will benefit the
reconstruction. One of the major attractions of the disc is the virtual visit of
the Fenice, with a plan to indicate where you are for those who like to have the
facility of an architectural drawing, and this on three levels. There are 36
vantage points where you can stop and catch your breath.
whirlwind tour of the site, one can indulge in one of the ten historical
evocations linked to the world premieres of such works as Rossini's Tancredi or
Semiramide, Verdi's Ernani, Rigoletto or Traviata, and Stravinsky's Rake's
Progress, all accompanied by animated dialogues indicative of the socio-historic
context. Within the written texts one can move back and forth to both pictorial
and written closeups connected to the work in question. If you prefer a more
orderly approach, you can shift to the documentation section which enables you
to look either chronologically or alphabetically to find out about composers,
works, performers (many with sound bites), and well-known observers (Byron,
he disc is
available in French, while all but one article in the fascinating library part
of the disc are in Italian. We can only hope that this will not deter
non-francophones from acquiring a superlative CD-ROM. Other statistics: 60
minutes of dialogues and commentaries, 60 minutes of musical extracts. Partners
in the production are the Opéra National de Paris, Le Monde de la
Musique, Radio Classique and Index+.
t the same
time, we must ask whether such a disc is only a toy or does it have an intrinsic
value. Serious scholars will more likely avail themselves of the complete
information available in an encyclopaedia such as the Grove Dictionary of Opera.
The only advantage here is that you need not know the alphabet nor need you turn
pages. Fortunately, you still have to know how to read.
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